Body-Wide Medications

Two categories of drugs may be used to treat moderate or severe psoriasis, or cases that don’t respond to other therapies: 1) Systemics work with your immune system to control skin cell production. 2) Biologics (also called disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs or DMARDs) block the actions of certain immune system cells to slow skin production and possibly reduce inflammation.

Medication
Generic (Brand)
How it works How it's given
  SYSTEMICS
Acitretin (Soriatane)
Retinoid, vitamin A derivative
Slows the growth of skin cells. Taken orally once a day.
Cyclosporine
Immunosuppressant
Slows the growth of skin cells by suppressing the immune system. Taken orally twice a day.
Methotrexate
Antimetabolite
Inhibits an enzyme involved in rapid cell growth. Taken orally or by injection.
   BIOLOGICS/DMARDs
Alefacept (Amevive)
T cell inhibitor
Prevents T cells from being activated and moving to the skin. Given by injection in a doctor's office once a week for 3 months.
*Adalimumab (Humira)
TNF-alpha inhibitor
Reduces inflammation and slows the overproduction of skin cells. Self-injected every other week.
*Etanercept (Enbrel)
TNF-alpha inhibitor
Reduces inflammation and slows the overproduction of skin cells. Self-injected once or twice a week.
*Golimumab
(Simponi)

TNF-alpha inhibitor
Reduces inflammation and slows the overproduction of skin cells. Self-injected once a month.
*Infliximab
(Remicade)

TNF-alpha inhibitor
Reduces inflammation and slows the overproduction of skin cells. Given by 3 IV infusions during the first 6 weeks and then once every
2 months.
Ustekinumab
(Stelara)

Cytokine inhibitor
Blocks the action of two proteins that contribute to the overproduction of skin cells. Given by injection in a doctor's office about 4 times a year.

* Also treats psoriatic arthritis

Published August 2011

Basics
Overview
Causes & Risk Factors
Symptoms
Diagnosis
Your Healthcare Team
Questions to Ask
    Your Doctor

Quiz: How Severe
    is Your Psoriasis?


Treatments
Never Tried a Biologic?
What Your Dermatologist
    Needs to Know

Topical Treatments
Phototherapy Treatments

Body-Wide Medications
When Your Treatment is Denied
    by Your Insurance Company


Features
Look Your Best With Psoriasis!
Feel Your Best With Psoriasis
Your Answer to Smoother, Clearer Skin—Found!
Take Charge of Your Psoriasis and Protect
    Your Whole Body!

Try These Simple Skin-Care Tips
Quiz: Test Your Psoriasis Smarts
Simple Ways to Better Your Life
Ask the Experts: Dating Tips and More
Let Summer Soothe Your Psoriasis
Lifestyle Adjustments to Help Ease Psoriasis

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